Öhlins Gets Inline
We've already seen a new long-stroke air shock from Öhlins show up Specialized's Enduro platform
(which has OE spec for 2016, by the way
), and it looks like the Swedes are also collaborating with Specialized on a lighter weight air-sprung shock that's designed for bikes with less travel. The shock, which is pictured here bolted to a Specialized employee's Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie with 135mm of travel, sports an inline design that forgoes a piggyback... sort of. A closer look reveals that it has an extended shock body that's ahead of the forward mount, a layout that might remind you of FOX's DRCV shock and its secondary air chamber that also adds to its length.
That said, I'd wager that what we're seeing is related to damping - after all, it's on the opposite end of the shock as the actual air can - and it's pretty clear to see that the blue compression dial, as well as what looks to be a multi-position, pedal assist switch, all tie into the extended shock body. Zooming in close enough to count the pixels also reveals what could be a gold coloured dial at the front of the extension that may offer further compression adjustment. The design, if it is indeed damper-related, would allow Öhlins to squeeze more oil volume into their inline shock for increased consistency.
There are two air valves on the shock as well: with the black valve on the far side being where you thread on a shock pump, and the blue valve on the opposite side of the shock very likely offering an AutoSag-like function that removes all of the guesswork from setting the correct spring rate.
While the terrain in and around Whistler makes for great product testing, the fact that the shock is being ridden in public during Crankworx also makes it obvious that Öhlins and Specialized probably aren't trying to hide much in the way of what we should expect to see in the near future. It's likely quite the opposite, and I'd bet that we'll see the new Öhlins inline shock on Specialized's bikes sooner rather than later.